Monday, July 15, 2024

Dynamic Duos Abound On Batwoman

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After Jada’s bombshell last episode, Vesper Fairchild is burning the airwaves with the Bat goss once again, while Batwoman is patrolling the city in the Batmobile. Luke radios in with the news that the area around Mary’s clinic is flooding. Ryan and Mary go to investigate and sure enough, there is no Marquis. There is, however, a creepy doll with a recorded message from Marquis to Ryan threatening the people she cares about.

Mary is deep in the self-blame pit about Marquis escaping and him knowing Luke and Ryan’s identity. Ryan blames the Poison Ivy infection, not Mary, but it’s clear her complete dismissal is the last thing Mary needs to hear. Right then, Ryan’s main goal is fixing the joy buzzer and using it on Marquis.

The joy buzzer, however, is beyond Luke’s ability to fix. He might have a chance if he had access to his father’s A.I. but there’s one hitch with that. Mary gave Marquis the A.I. Again, Luke doesn’t blame her and again it only makes Mary feel guiltier.

Alice, who’s just hanging around the Hold Up now, is the one who provides a solution. She suggests they go to the person who originally built it: Kiki Roulette, the Joker’s Toy Maker. Alice is kind of a fangirl of her work.

Mary and Alice
Alice is on a one-woman mission to make every drink possible.

Luke is able to track her last known address (with the help of some eyewear prescriptions) where she’s living under the name Kathleen Rodgers. Mary volunteers to go, in part because she’s the doctor and the only one with the knowledge to determine the medical science behind using an electroshock device to rewire someone’s brain. In part also because she’s trying to be useful to the team because of the guilt she feels. Although she only says the former out loud.

Ryan tells Alice to go with her. Alice and Sophie are both like ‘Why Alice?’ Ryan reminds them that as far as Marquis is concerned, Mary and Alice are still Bat enemies, while Luke and Sophie are in his crosshairs. Alice is confused as to when she became an ex-Bat enemy. Ryan tells Luke and Sophie to lay low until she deals with Marquis.

Sophie, however, is not happy about being on the bench. When Ryan heads upstairs to the loft, Sophie follows after her. She lobbed one heck of a ball in Ryan’s court and Ryan hasn’t made her move yet. Now, Sophie is determined to know where they stand.

Ryan Wilder
Ryan: Conceal, don’t feel.

Ryan’s not ready to process yet so she pushes those pesky things called feelings down and tells Sophie they can wait. Sophie isn’t happy about this answer, but lucky for Ryan, Luke joins them with news about Marquis. The news is he’s on the news.

Marquis is holding a press conference in front of Arkham, where he’s pledged millions to help develop the asylum. Surprisingly, he doesn’t out Ryan’s identity. The Bat Team doesn’t trust any of this, knowing he must have bigger plans for Arkham.

Ryan remembers Jada mentioning that she had a deal with Marquis, ensuring that he wouldn’t come after her. Knowing she must have some kind of blackmail on him, Ryan reasons they can use it to make Marquis stand down.

Meanwhile, Marquis is exploring Arkham. His ‘generous’ donation was to buy himself the keys to the castle (although he does make some valid points about Arkham hurting more than helping the people in its care). His first plan is a ‘work-release’ program, i.e he gets the dangerous convicts to do his bidding. The first person he has a job for is Victor Zsasz. 

Marquis Jet
You know it’s bad when the villain makes good points about mental health care.

Mary and Alice arrive at Kiki’s address but before they go in, Mary asks Alice if living with your guilt ever gets any easier. Alice guesses correctly that the rest of the team has been assuaging Mary’s guilt. She says the thing no one else has: It is Mary’s fault. Alice suggests Mary do what she does, bury all those feelings deep down, pretend like they don’t exist, and cover it all with a healthy* dose of victim-blaming. (*note, healthy here means very unhealthy). But Mary can’t do that.

They continue with the task at hand, locating Kiki. A kindly woman at the doorway tells them that she no longer lives there. Mary is about to walk away, but Alice knows a fishy situation when she sees one. She whips out her butterfly knife, holding it to the woman’s neck until she admits she’s Kiki.

Back at the loft, Luke is going through their gear, prepping to head out as Batwing. Knowing that Marquis is at Arkham, now is the best time for him to look for Lucius’ A.I. Sophie is like ‘if you’re breaking the rules to go outside, so am I.’ But Luke isn’t going to risk Ryan’s wrath if something happens to Sophie. He might not know what exactly is going on between them, but he’s been witness to enough of the drama to know there’s something.

Sophie tries to dismiss the ‘whatever’ between her and Ryan as an unimportant kiss, but girl needs to vent and Luke’s the first person to give her an outlet. She also points out that she’s the one on the team with the most certified tactical training, so Luke lets her join him.

Meanwhile, at Jeturian Industries, Ryan marches into Jada’s office (dressed to kill, I might add). She tries to get Jada to turn over whatever blackmail she has on Marquis. But before they get into a real conversation, Jada’s security informs her someone is there to see her.

Then, the guard gets shot.

The someone to see her is Victor Zsasz. Victor is there for business with Jada, but he’s thrilled to see his old pal Ryan. He makes Jada hand over the tape that could incriminate Marquis, destroying it. However, he’s excited to give Ryan congratulations about taking over Wayne. It’s a shame it wasn’t timely enough to give it while she was still at Wayne.

Zsasz is happy to get the chance to catch up, but he does have the little task of killing Jada. Jada asks him to let Ryan live because she’s her daughter. Zsasz is a little confused as to how Jada fits into the lineup of dead mothers in Ryan’s life. Ryan explains how they’re related, and Victor is thrilled to be getting all the details.

Victor Zsasz
Is there something in the water that makes Gotham’s villains so charismatic?

He’s sorry that he has to return Ryan’s dead mom count to two, but hey, bright side, he has a condition to give Batwoman time to try to save Jada before he kills her, so they have time for any final words until the Caped Crusader shows up. Of course, he doesn’t know Batwoman is already in the room with them.

Back with Mary and Alice, Kiki is confused about why they’d want her to fix the joy buzzer. Mary explains their idea of using it to fix someone who was already affected. Kiki confirms that, in theory, it could work, but in order to fix it she’ll need her specialized tools, which are at the Joker’s workshop. That’s a life she left behind and has been trying to make amends for. Alice calls her bluff, but Kiki says it’s not an act. She’s been putting in the work to make her amends and now it seems like fixing the buzzer is going to be one of those amends.

Alice and Mary
“Cause we are sisters.”

Back at Jeturian, Jada tries to defend her belief that she didn’t abandon Ryan. The two million she paid was actually meant to go to the family who took Ryan in, except the doctor kept it for himself and left Ryan at a fire station. She didn’t tell Ryan sooner because she was trying to push Ryan away to protect her from Marquis, but that plan blew up in her face.

Victor’s touched by the last-minute reconciliation they were able to share and asks Ryan if she has any last words. She does. She calls Jada ‘mom’ for the first time. And tells her to duck. Using a letter opener to catch Zsasz off guard she disarms and knocks him out. Seeing Ryan in action, Jada realizes her daughter is Batwoman.

Meanwhile, Kiki takes Alice and Mary to Joker’s workshop (hidden under a fairground). Alice is like a kid in a candy store in this place. As Kiki is fixing the joy buzzer, Mary asks how she overcame the guilt of what she did. Kiki admits you don’t. You live with it and you do the work to make amends. From the look on their faces, Mary and Alice are both listening to her.

Elsewhere, Sophie is whipping over the Gotham streets, using the line launcher to land on Wayne. Luke’s impressed and mentions Ryan would be too. Sophie’s not so sure. Ryan’s been impossible to read. Luke points out that Sophie seems to have a type, to which Sophie counters she liked Ryan long before she knew she was Batwoman (!!!). Luke (and I) questions how long exactly but Sophie changes the subject. She finds the A.I. and Luke restores it to his suit. Sophie notices Marquis’ laptop and while they’re already there, why not hack it?

Sophie and Luke
This outfit was amazing and here’s hoping it becomes Sophie’s mission outfit.

Victor Zsasz is being taken away in handcuffs, but ever the glass half full guy, he’s happy he got to see Ryan and Jada connect. Once they’re alone, Jada asks what’s next. Ryan assumes this is the part where Jada outs her. She calls Jada out on all the ways she’s hurt her thus far. And all the things she’s wanted in a mother.

Jada tries to defend her actions, that if she’d been in Ryan’s life she could have only made things worst. After all, Marquis was the child she gave everything to and right now he’s nothing short of a supervillain. But Ryan got nothing and rose to be the city’s hero. Not sure if the math checks out, but for the moment it quells Ryan.

Sophie calls her right then, letting her know she and Luke are at Wayne and hacked into his computer. They discovered Marquis is using Arkham inmates as his personal goons. Ryan is livid they did the opposite of what she asked, but Sophie calls out that she doesn’t need Ryan’s permission because they’re not anything. At this moment, Luke discovers Marquis has been in contact with Kiki.

Mary and Alice discover this information around the same time when Kiki reveals she’s finished the buzzer, which means Marquis is probably going to kill them now. Alice grabs a gun, firing it at Kiki, but unfortunately, it’s the Joker’s iconic ‘bang’ gun. Doubly unfortunate is the fact that the Arkham inmates who show up right then have very real guns.

A little surprised she didn’t try to hurl the gun as a weapon anyway.

Ryan heads to Mary and Alice’s location. Sophie and Luke, however, are caught by Marquis before they can leave. Mary asks if everything Kiki told them about working with her therapist was a lie. Kiki says it was all true, she just didn’t actually care about making amends. The advice is still solid though. Her therapist was Harleen Quinzel after all. Marquis calls Kiki right then, informing him the joy buzzer is only good for one more use.

Batwoman joins them right, which is perfect timing. Kiki puts Marquis on speaker so they can talk. Marquis taunts Batwoman that he’s going to reveal her identity, but Ryan knows he isn’t going to do that. Revealing to the world who she is will only prove that she made everything from nothing, while Marquis had everything but made nothing.

Well, if Marquis can’t hold revealing her identity over her, he does happen to have her friends at his mercy and he plans to hurt all of them, one by one. But Sophie reminds Batwoman she can take care of herself. She and Batwing take out Marquis and his goons, while in a tandem fight scene, Batwoman, Alice, and Mary take out all their attackers. In the confusion, Kiki escapes with the joy buzzer.

Batwoman returns to Jeturian to tell Jada that Marquis has the joy buzzer and will probably be coming after her soon. Jada takes responsibility for failing to stop Marquis and for not being there for Ryan. Jada has put up walls to protect herself from getting hurt, to stop herself from feeling too deeply. She never lets anyone get close enough so it can’t hurt if she loses them. It’s something Ryan recognizes in herself. Jada implores her to not follow in her footsteps in that aspect. She’s led a lonely life and doesn’t want the same for Ryan. Her words seem to resonate with Ryan.

Jada and Ryan
I guess it’s never too late to learn life lessons from mom.

Meanwhile, Luke is reconnecting with his ‘dad’ who’s happy to see Luke has learned he didn’t need the suit to be hero. Lucius is proud of his son and it’s everything Luke wanted to hear.

In the Joker’s workshop, Marquis is exploring the shelves, giddy as kid on Christmas. Kiki is there, eager to know who gets the honor of the last jolt from the joy buzzer.

Mary is in the sewers, looking for Alice. Finding her in the old subway car she used to hang out in, she gives her a bag of her things and some money. Mary has chosen to listen to the good aspects f Kiki’s advice and put in the work to make amends for what she’s done. After she says goodbye to Alice, she’s going to the wake for the hunter she killed to start that process.

Alice isn’t ready to leave Gotham quite yet. You see, she wants to get better too, but unlike her sister, she wants the cheat sheet version. She wants to use the joy buzzer on herself, even if it means abandoning any hope of helping Marquis.

Back at the Hold Up, Ryan’s invited Sophie to talk. Sophie marches in, ready for another fight, but every argument she throws at Ryan is met with a soft ‘I know.’ It throws Sophie off, used to some pushback when it comes to Ryan Wilder. Ryan hands her a drink and offers her a seat.

Ryan takes Jada’s advice and lets her walls down. She opens up about what she’s really scared of: losing someone else she cares about. Her whole life she’s been taught to expect the good things to go away, so now she’s keeps anything, anyone she could care about at arm’s length to protect herself. It can’t hurt to lose something if she never had in the first place.

Sophie ‘I will be your rock’ Moore continues to prove she’ll be anything Ryan needs her to be, even if that means she needs to stand back. She promises she won’t push anymore, but Ryan says she doesn’t have to. And Ryan Wilder finally stops running from what she wants and leans to kiss Sophie.

Ryan and Sophie

They stumble into the loft, where the lights are low but that does nothing to dim their smiles and laughter. It’s nothing but pure excitement and joy to be in this moment together. Nothing can phase the moment. Not when a lamp breaks (rip). Not when Ryan can’t get Sophie’s belt off (she tried, she really did). It wasn’t perfect, but that’s what made it all the better.

Ryan Wilder
Their joy…

There is so much laughter and joy in this scene for these two characters, these two women who care so deeply about each other. These women who have helped each other grow and heal, and have fallen for each other along the way. And they finally, finally get to revel in that connection.

Sophie Moore
…is everything.


I could take this section and talk about Marquis and him becoming a more intimidating threat with each episode and his unique parallels to and differences from Ryan. Or I could talk about Mary and Alice and the work they need to do in order to heal. I’s perfectly in character that Mary set her mind to taking the long road ahead of her, while, Alice’s thought process is ‘how can I skip to the front of the line?’ But upcoming episodes will probably afford better opportunities to discuss those. And let’s be real here, if there is one part of ‘Broken Toys’ I’m going to be talking about, it’s THAT scene.

I’ve shared a thought or two or twenty on Wildmoore and their development over the course of this season and from season two. A slow burn romance is nothing new in the world of narrative tropes, but it’s rare to see one that is this lovingly and intricately developed. There are many times where slow burn is synonymous with slow narrative development or rather, small bursts of development spaced out by long stretches of narrative stagnation.

But that’s not the case from here. From Ryan and Sophie’s first scene together these two have constantly pushed and helped each other to grow. Ryan was the catalyst for Sophie’s reexamination of the Crows and her place in that system in season two. Likewise, Sophie’s unwavering support helped Ryan step into her power as Batwoman and as Ryan Wilder.

Over the course of season three, Sophie just proved time and time again she’s here to stand by Ryan’s side. It’s no mistake Sophie has explicitly asked Ryan what she wants or needs multiple times. She wants to be there. She wants Ryan to lean on her. She wants Ryan to understand she doesn’t have to carry the weight of the world alone.

And for Ryan, that was a scary thought because the people who cared for her in her life are taken away at some point. Cora. Angelique. You could even count Mary to a certain extent. Letting Sophie in meant risking someone else she could lose. But a push from Jada of all people helped her to realize that protecting her heart behind walls wasn’t worth the loneliness that came with it.

All of that culminated in a beautiful sex scene that was sexy, fun, and light. A moment where the characters just got to revel in being together. The kind of moment we so rarely get to see between two women, much less between two Black women. Their joy and excitement was so palpable. As was their comfort, both for the characters and the actors portraying them. A very special shout out and thank you to Camrus Johnson for giving so much care and attention to this moment and for ensuring everyone was comfortable in the moment. That care translated on screen and made the scene all the more special to watch.

Bat-atastic Moments

  • ‘Batbar to Batwoman.’
  • Every time Alice has made herself a drink it’s been a different kind. Did they teach bar tending on Coryana?
  • Marquis: ‘Big fan of your work.’ Zsasz: ‘Well, then we have something in common. I’m a fan of my work as well.’
  • Batwoman, stop making your villains so charismatic. (Not really).
  • Mary, Sophie, and Ryan’s hair were popping off this episode.
  • The Joker’s workshop was a treasure trove of references.
  • Sophie got upgraded from Crowphie to Sophie Moore on Ryan’s phone! (She best get another upgrade with a heart emoji real soon.)
  • Ryan, you’ve been giving Sophie heart attacks because of your antics in the field for two seasons. She should get to return the favor from time to time. 
  • Excuse you Marquis, Sophie Moore is more than a side piece.
  • A joy buzzer pun would be too easy this episode.
  • My girl Ryan really out here taking down Victor Zsasz with a letter opener but couldn’t get her hands steady enough to get off Sophie’s belt.
  • Sophie Moore coming through with the exquisite top energy.
  • Have I mentioned how good that sex scene was? How good Ryan and Sophie’s whole arc has been? Have I said it enough yet?

Images courtesy of The CW

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